COP26 menu 'like serving cigarettes at a cancer conference'

Vegans and eco activists slam COP26 menu as being ‘like serving cigarettes at a lung cancer conference’ because it features lots of meat and diary from Scottish farms

  • Critics compared the menu to ‘serving cigarettes at a lung cancer conference’
  • Government promised to source most of the menu from Scottish farms
  • Meat meals such as the burger have the highest carbon footprints 


Animal rights groups compared offering meat and dairy at the climate summit to ‘serving cigarettes at a lung cancer conference’.

The Government promised to source most of the menu, which is almost 60 percent meat and dairy based, from Scottish farms.

But meat meals such as burgers have the highest carbon footprint, at 3.9kg Co2. I

Some 80 percent of the ingredients are from Scotland, which cut down on transport emissions, but meat is still more damaging to the environment than vegetables because of the impact of feeding the animal.

Joel Scott-Halkes, a spokesperson for campaign group Animal Rebellion, told the Big Issue that offering meat, seafood and dairy at a climate conference was like ‘serving cigarettes at a lung cancer conference’. 

Andrew Graham-Stewart, director of Salmon and Trout Conservation, labelled the decision ‘beggars belief’.

Animal rights groups compared the COP26 menu to ‘serving cigarettes at a lung cancer conference’. Pictured: XR Demonstrators during the Cop26 summit in Glasgow earlier today

Eco-activists have lashed out at the COP26 menu for featuring a burger with the carbon footprint equivalent of a ten-mile journey. Pictured: XR demonstrators at COP26 earlier today

The Government promised to source most of the climate summit’s menu (pictured), which is almost 60 percent meat and dairy based, from Scottish farms

The menu’s lowest carbon options were meat free – including a kale and vegetable pasta dish which created just 0.3kg of carbon per serving.

Swedish start-up Klimato was responsible for calculating the carbon footprint of all menu items. It said it wanted to ‘help [people] choose the dishes with the lowest carbon footprint’ but it is unclear what happens to the high-carbon food if no one chooses to eat it.

A buffalo mozzarella pizza on the Cop26 menu has 2.1kg Co2 per serving (file image)

Swedish start-up Klimato was responsible for deciding the carbon footprint of all menu items (file image)

A Canned Scottish Beetroot and Broccoli salad has one of the lowest carbon footprints at 0.2kg Co2 (file image)

Demonstrators at a Extinction Rebellion protest during the Cop26 summit in Glasgow

Each page on the menu reads: ‘According to the WWF, we need to get [the carbon footprint of food] down below 0.5kg CO2e [per meal] to reach the goals defined in the Paris Agreement.

What is the carbon footprint of the items on the COP26 menu? 


Canned Scottish Beetroot and Broccoli

0.2kg Co2

Shredded Scottish Chicken

0.5kg Co2

Loch Duart Smoked Salmon and Fennel 

0.4kg Co2


Organic Kale and Seasonal Vegetable Pasta

0.3kg Co2

Graised Gartmorn Farm Turkey Meatballs

0.9kg Co2


Scottish Beef Burger 

3.9kg Co2

Buttermilk Grilled Chicken Burger

1.1kg Co2

Herblabism Herb Burger

0.6kg Co2


Scottish Field Mushroom

0.8kg Co2

Smoked chicken

1.7kg Co2

Scottish Buffalo Mozzarella

2.1kg Co2 

‘By including climate labels on our menus, we aim to make it easier to achieve this goal – together.’

Mr Scott-Halkes added that serving meat was ‘reckless’ and slammed it as a ‘damning indictment of the UK government’s utter failure to grasp the root cause of the climate crisis’.

The Salmon and Conservation Trust also questioned the sustainability of the farmed salmon on offer. 

Mr Graham-Steward added: ‘To include farmed salmon on the COP26 menu is beggars belief. One wonders what level of scrutiny and due diligence was applied before the menu was finalised.’

MailOnline has contacted the organisers of COP26 for comment.

It comes as scuffles broke out during a demonstration outside the SSE energy company in Glasgow yesterday.

On St Vincent Street, police and demonstrators, who brandished placards and banners, were seen clashing as world leaders met to discuss climate change at the nearby SEC Centre.

Activists tried to force their way into the building and were stopped by private security and police officers.

But the demonstrators locked themselves to each other outside.

Police said the arrests were made after officers were sprayed with paint. 

Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie said: ‘During one of these protests, a number of officers were assaulted after being sprayed with paint. 

‘Two arrests have been made in relation to this so far and cans of spray paint have been seized.

‘We will protect the rights of people who wish to peacefully protest or counter-protest at COP26, balanced against the rights of the wider community.

‘We will provide a proportionate policing response to any protest and violence will not be tolerated.

‘Assaults on officers, who put their safety at risk every day to keep the public safe and have adopted a facilitative and rights-based approach to protest, is totally unacceptable.’ 

Earlier in the day, flares were also set off outside JP Morgan bank on the same city street.          

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